Identifying the NBA's worst shooters is a process overrun with subjectivity. Statistics are always part of the calculus, but which ones? And how are they weighted? And how do you account for the level of difficulty on field-goal attempts? Or the context of a player's role? And experience?
Our approach to ranking the league's least valuable shooters doesn't pretend to address all those issues. It is instead an attempt to spot the players who are currently faring the worst from the perimeter without letting too much interpretation creep into the fold.
Of course, this decision is an interpretation in and of itself. Nobody's perfect.
This specific approach will measure how much value a player has added—or, in this case, not added—on mid-range jumpers, corner threes and above-the-break triples relative to the rest of the league.
To get there, we've come up with the average points generated per shot from all three areas. We've then mined every player's average points generated per shot from those areas, subtracted the leaguewide average and multiplied the difference by the number of field-goal attempts from each range to help account for volume.
When all's said and done, we have three different scores for every player. Those marks are combined to form what we'll call "Total Shot Value Added." From there, we've plucked out the 10 lowest scores, and voila: Here we are.
Again: This method has its limitations. It doesn't account for role difficulty, and some will argue we should include free-throw accuracy in addition to live-possession shooting. Based on the names churned out, though, this ends up being an accurate snapshot of the league's least valuable shooters to date.
Whether these players are still this low by season's end is up to them.
10. Markelle Fultz, Orlando Magic
Total Shot Value Added: Minus-16.84
Markelle Fultz's place on this list won't hold if recalibrated in a few games.
Volume is part of the equation, and he's out for the year after tearing his left ACL. (Prayer-hands emojis all over.) If we were to bounce him from the process, the next player up would actually be his teammate, Dwayne Bacon.
Overall, though, Fultz's position isn't difficult to accept. He has been a total non-threat from the perimeter for most of his career. His mid-range game only started rounding into form last year when he dropped in 41.6 percent of them, including 50.0 percent after the All-Star break.
Those same shots were not falling through eight appearances this season. He will finish the year with a 21.4 percent clip from mid-range (6-of-28), and his 28.6 percent mark on above-the-break threes (4-of-14) only helps solidify his place among the 10 worst shooters so far.
9. Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers
Total Shot Value Added: Minus-17.52
Domantas Sabonis' inclusion comes as a fairly large shock when viewed against the backdrop of his entire performance. He has, by and large, crushed it under new head coach Nate Bjorkgren. But the expansion of his shot profile hurts here, along with a cold streak from mid-range.
More of Sabonis' looks are coming as above-three-break threes. His 31.6 percent conversion rate on those attempts (12-of-38) yields just 0.95 points per shot, a mark far enough below the league average of 1.07 to do some damage.
Whether he can beef up his efficiency from long range matters. It doesn't matter nearly as much as his mid-range rut. He has drained just one of the 17 shots he's attempted in between the paint and the three-point line. For the math enthusiasts at home, that's a mind-meltingly low 5.9 percent success rate.
On the bright side: Sabonis has been good anyway, and his arctic-cold efficiency from mid-range shouldn't hold.
8. Robert Covington, Portland Trail Blazers
Total Shot Value Added: Minus-19.53
Robert Covington's cameo is absolutely a shock—in theory. He isn't known for his lights-out sniping, but the relatively low degree of difficulty on his outside attempts generally lends itself to both sides of the three-and-D label.
Not so much this year.